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Letters to Patrick Mullen in America

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Letters to Patrick Mullen in America from his brother Tobias & father James.

Transcribed by Brian Murphy at Thebarnguy[at]aol.com


First off, I should mention that the letters have Claudy and the date at the top of the pages, but we have determined that the village is now Clady, not Claudy. I don't know when Patrick emigrated from there.

Taking possession of these letters has proved to be a goldmine of information, but my limited research powers have not turned up as much extra information as I would like. I have so far had no sucess in finding any Mullens that I can claim my own still living in the Clady area, and I can only suppose that the father, James, died and was buried there. There is evidence that there were more than the four siblings, Patrick, James, Robert and Tobias, but I don't have their names or information on them.

Another genealogical gift that we have is that Tobias, who was in the seminary in Maynooth, was recruited to go to Pittsburgh, PA, and went on to become the Bishop of Erie, PA. He was instrumental in having the cathedral built there, and a book has been published by the Archdioces about it, Cathedral in the Wilderness. Some of the genealogical info we have is from here.

This Tobias link allowed me to locate Robert's family, who still live in New Orleans, and is still naming boys Tobias. Apparently at the one time, Patrick, James and Robert were all in New Orleans. We don't know what happened to James, but Patrick went north, and although my info is very spotty, married and had children.

Three of these letters were passed down by my Grandmother, Prudence Mullen Murphy, and two I received from an older cousin, Tobias Mullen.


Patrick Mullen
In care of Patrick Daly
No. 7 Forsythe Street
New York, America

26th May

Dear Patrick,

As I have sent you a letter a few days previous to the above date with Mrs. Crowe of Claudy who are going by Phila( ) d are to deliver it to Henry there to ( ) New York. I have not much to insure on this (unless) a repetition of what was in the preceeding letter you may not therefore be amazed at its conciseness nor would I write this one were it not that Catharine Bogan is going to that city with whom I am getting the opportunity of sending this letter.

I received payment for the (Bile?) in Strabane bank to the amount of L3.16 A handsome donation indeed such as I did not expect in such a short space of time. I return you my most sincere and heartfelt thamks for it and such is the extent of my gratitude to you that I can not find (utterance?) for it and I find a certain degree of ( ) telling your kindness. I also feel much obliged to Mr. Daly for the action he took in directing the (bile) as I suppose it was carried on by his manager.

Your father desires you to send him a ( ) history of Robert and James in your next letter but I suppose you shall have written before the receipt of this letter. She is very apprehensive for their welfare as she is told it is a very unhealthy clime. She would like to hear the character of their ( ) your Aunt Rose requests you to be careful of the ring as it is pure gold. Flagherty is listed and James Duncan as was said in the other letter is in the police. John Kennedy has another son named John.

Remain Yours,

June 24, 1839

Dear Patrick,

I received your letter from Orleans on the 18th of this date and upon calculation I found it was almost 6 months in coming. I was surprised at not finding the hair which according to your statement was sent enclosed in the letter. I am glad that you are all togeher again and that your health is good in a country repudiated to be infested with diseases. I wish I had as good news to communicate as I have received from you and it is disturbing upon me to mention anything that would tend to mar the felicity which I hope you enjoy, however, we must bear afflictions with christian fortitude and submit with resignation to the will of our Creator.

I have received the heaviest blow which death could inflict. Your dear Mother is no more, she died of a bilious complaint at three o'clock on the morning of Friday the 14 of this date, the disease attacked her yet moderately about six months ago. She was in a lingering state until about six weeks before her death, until that period she was capable of managing the domestic affairs, but afterwards she was confined to her bed until her death. We were constrained from the violence of her sickness to sit up every night for a fortnight previous to her death; she retained her senses until the last moment and was discoursing with us a few moments before she expired. She breathed her last without a groan or struggle, your Aunt Betty attended her during her sickness and is keeping house for us since. I wish the letter, particularly the hair, had come while she was alive. I am certain it would have comforted her very much. She was interred in Urney Yard on Sunday the 16th.

Your letter came the Thursday following. Tobias was visiting his mother's grave when he heard the lettere was in Strabane. Dear Patrick I understand my pension( ) purchased that practice is ( id) aside and how to act I know not. I think it better if you would come over and assist me in settling matters. At any rate I would like to see you and I suppose you would like to see your native country. I have some hopes that I would get my pension from the British Consul Resident in that place. If this scheme fails I know not how to act.

Tobias is at home at present studying occasionally. There has been no examination for Maynouth since you went away. Fr. McDavitt is parish priest here and has promised to exert himself to the utmost for Tobias when an opportunity offers. Tobias returns you his heartfelt thanks for your offer and hopes he soon stands in need of it. If he does not go to America, if he sees no prospect here before May he is intend visit you. I am desirous of going also but you know from what I said of the pension how I am situated. I therefore require your advice on account of your mother's death circumstances are somewhat low. I will write a letter to James and another to Robert. Give my love to my daughter and children. I am sorry any dissension exists between you and Roberts wife.



February 22, 1841

Dear Patrick,

I take this first opportunity of writing a few lines to you to le yuo know that i received our kind and welcome letter dated January 1st which I in perfect good health thanks be to the giver of all fifts and I am scarce able at present to express ( ) it afforded me when I heard you were still alive and ( ) and dear Patrick you will be scarce able to form any idea ( ) ectasy of Joy that possessed every nerve within me when ( ) at the same moment receive a letter from your Brother, I scarce new which to open( ) first, but after some reflection I opened yours which grately gratified ( ) and I am happy to inform you that brother Tobias is well and as he tells me he has wrote two letters from the Collage. I need not say anymore of him But for the present I shall write a little of my situation.

I have tolerable good health but feel uneasy at lonely situation but I am determined( ) ick. It is a great Consolation to me to hear so many Blessings poured down on you from everyone who heard what you done for your Brother at a time when it so much needed and I fell confidant that the Almighty will crown all your endeavors with success. All the company I have since I lost one of the best comrade ever a man was blessed with is your Uncle Patrick. Aunt Betty and me live very socially.
( t) all with firmness still looking forward feeling of delight when we shall all meet together to part no more.

Dear Patrick, the account you give of your Brothers in America casts a gloom on all my ( ) prospects, but I hope you will put a guard on all ( ) actions and shun the rock on which the split. Remember that no situation in this life is permanent ( ) let your endeavors be at all times to choose our Companions men of good sense and judgement. ( ) lest you Improve by their conversation you( t) by their advice and remember still that one is necessary and that one thing is the care of salvation. For what is it for a man to gain(to whole?) and to lose his own soul. You talk of visiting your native country. I long for the arrival of ( ) moment and my wish would be for you to arrange your affairs so as that you should depart no ( ) You wish me to give you an account of this country( ) not able at present to give so satisfactory as I would ( ) an account that it was only so late as Friday last that they brought forward a bill in Parliament called Stanley's Bill and we have not heard yet that it passed into law but if it does fair well Emancipation wou you may guess what will then be the State of the Country. It is tranquil at present and loaded with plenty and every thing cheap. Potatoes is from 3D to 31/2 D per stone. Trade is always ( ) we have got ( ) in force in this country and has got a House ( ) Strabane & another at Dery Bridge which costs many thousands. Dear Patrick it affects me no little to ( ) you do not visit your brother and him in the same( ) Would not turn my back on him through any bad( ) . ( ) you talk of sending the little boy if you get( ) . I think that you would be the safest hand you ( ) .

Your Aunt Betty sends her love in the kindest manner and Robert and James and families. Francis Travers wife( ) , ( ) more and likewise your Uncle Duncan( ) this life three months since . The rest of your friends( ) tolerable good health. I respect of Paddy( ) about one year ago they heard he was in Columbia. Wishing you all kinds of success I will Conclude and I Subscrive myself your Father,

James Mullen


RCC Maynouth

June 25, 1841

Dear Patrick,

I received your two letters together a few days with the L20. I would have written sooner but I wished to wait until yesterday, which was the day the result of our studies for this year was made known. The students of our class were all named who had highly distinguished themselves during the year. I obtained the sixth distinction on Classics and second mathematics. This was certainly more that I could reasonably expect as I was only in class five months. The Derrymen of our class distinguished themselves very much more than any other diocese. I had the honor of being the first of those who came in at Christmas, but this is only a prelude to the performance of the ensuing year. I intend not to let it all go for nothing. Our examinations were very ( ) however I got on without a stumble. The Board of Bishops sat this week and came to the resoulution that every student should be compelled to go out this vacation. This has caused very great confusion among the students as many of them are not provided at the present time with the means of going home. I am very glad that your timely assistance obviated whatever embarassment such a step might cause me. though at the same time I feel very reluctant to go home as it will be attended with vast expenses. Yet after all I think I will have what will clear me in this house the next year, at the expiration of that time I hope to have a place or part of one. The President on account of the proficency I made in my studies this year has given me leave to read Logic next year, so that my collegiate course will be a year shorter than If I were to read Rhetoric which would be my class next year in the ordinary course of study, but which I know well enough already. The Bishops have adopted the above resolution in consequence of the low state of the funds. They were all present yesterday when the distinctions were read out. I have been very busy since vacation commenced writing manuscripts for Logic as the (facts?) we have on that science are not sufficient for the student.

I received a letter from my Father a few days since. He is well but I think he will surely be astonished when I go home as he did not expect me for another year. We have some fine sport when our Diocesans all assemble together in some( ) habit room as it is contrary to rule to go into any other room. Some of our men can play the fiddle, others the flute so that we can spend an evening very pleasantly. Some of the accomplished boys occasionally giving a specimen of their abilities in (floor navigation?). ( ) have excellent Ballcourts, I am tolerably adept in the (Sciences?) As proof thereof I will relate to you an anecdote. The Armagh men were playing late on a certain evening the Derrymen being spectators. after the game was finished an Armagh man challenged any of the Derrymen. Some of them seemed willing to accept it. Sooner than have our county disgraced I entered the list. a shilling was wagered on each side. My antagonist and I immediately commenced each being greatly encouraged by his own party. After a hard fought game I proved victorious. My antagonist not seeming satisfied we played another, the result of which was the same as the first. a general shout was raised by the Derrymen upon which the other party felling somewhat indignant and also giving expression to such feelings. I challenged any of them and walked off. nothing more was said about it as one of the Deans were going past at the time. had it been in any other place, the affair would not have terminated so amicably as the Derrymen seemed almost disposed to support their champion at the risk of expulsion.

My father never gave my books the door to ( keep? since) you went away though he often threatens particularly when circumstances wove a bad aspect. We lived our very amicable times. You made judge of this when he was in the habit of ( reaching ? ) on the pipe as often as he took it himself so that before I came away I was nearly as good as himself. Your side wall has remained as firm as a rock since you went off. We took down the lower gable completely and built it again without any other additions or repair as my father is greatly opposed to (innovation?) . He is a ( ) as tasty as ever. Nice stockings,(stilts?) and a well fitting pair of breeches which his cousin John Kelly made him while over on a visit. I think I will have some fun when he shall try my black breeches on him. He has a fine cow, the one you went to see in Chroaham, a fine garden of potatoes I believe &c, &c.

The Hamiltons are for selling that place, I would wish to have your advice with respect to how the old fellow is to be fixed if that take place. I am very sorry for James particularly for the little children. If you come over next year I think you might bring one or both with you or even before that time you might send one of them this way and I could have him safe at home. I'm sure it would be a glad sight to the grandfather if he knew the ( ) I was giving him he would pronounce a "zounds" on me. The reins fit remarkably well. They are the exact length and they are made of the best hemp and I am confident it will be long before they require to be mended or replaced. The ( ) will be much shorter and perhaps last a couple of seasons as the horses are not quite so wild and already seem to become so quiet after a short time as to require smiths, reins or drivers.

Few changes I believe have taken place ( ) at your acquaintance this long time. James Bergam (the butler?) is married this long time and completely(fa ) . Francis McElivee is (gardening?0 in ( ) land these 2 years. Kiron? is married below Derry. Your old friend, Doherty, the ( ) maker is doing well. He is foreman in a shop in (Strabane?) Hugh King is now a Doctor, ( ) McHugh (Kenyon?) the McDade's Leary, glass and the Lafferty's together with R. Bogan are all moving along on the old path. James Duncan is working journey work. Margaret is hired, your aunt is at the Spruce. Callins are all in Scotland but Ginny& husband as they were. James Kelly, Hugh's brother, Cloughfin is in America but John & wife. There are many things here which perhaps you have heard before, I've scarcely anything to say about the country as I know little of it now. But you may expect a long letter from me when at home replete with all the interesting news I can collect. Write often and direct as before as I will be home again before the answer to this letter arrives. Excuse this. I am greatly hurried. It is now near suppertime so I bid you good evening and wish you vast pleasures on your contemplated( transfer?)

Your affectionate brother

T. Mullen


Postmarked 2 Jul 43
Patrick Mullen
#5 Water Street
Boston, Mass.

1st July 43

Dear Patrick,

I received yours of the 17th, and was not a little surprised to learn that you received no letter from me for the last 12 months. I wrote I think 3 to Brasil and one to Boston during that time and it is very strange that not one of them reached its destination. I paid 2g each for those I sent to Brasil so the government has so much for nothing. All you wrote during your stay in Brasil I think reached me. I have just been looking over your letters and I have 3 from Brasil. It afforded me no small satisfaction to learn from your letter that you had left Brasil for your account of the manners of the people filled me with apprehensions respecting your safety. I think they are far behind the rest of the world in civilization and with respect to their religion. They are schismatics or in other words separated from the see of Rome as is the mother country, Portugal. I suppose your coffers are exhaused and a demand on them would meet with a repulse in your ( ) from ( ) you anticipated by my promising to send 10 pounds and this was just the sum required. Had it come when I expected it. Or even now it would have extricated me from much embarrassment with tradesmen and the Bursar in whose books I am somewhat dipped. But I fear your means are now too much reduced for me to ( exit? ) my ( ) with decency. And on the other hand I have had too much experience of your generosity to doubt for a moment of the success of my appeal if your circumstances enable you to give it a favorable hearing. If such is the case(as I hope it is) a subsidy could not arrive too soon. The vacation has commenced and I intend remaining here during that time, for were I disposed to go out my means would not allow me, besides I don't see where I would go to a home ( there?) is not for me.

The studies of the year are over of course, and I think without egotism I studied pretty fairly with the exception of 6 weeks during which time I was sick in the infirmary but I am, thank God, perfectly recovered. Through( ) 3 premiums( ). The class consist of nearly 80 I obtained one of the (premiums?) so I succeded pretty( ) The premiums always come in ( ) book. The ( ) of the year coincided directly with my taste. They were geometry, algebra, trigonometry, mechanics, astromomy, hydrostatics, pneumatics, & electricity in the latter an American, the immortal Franklin was very (emminent). I commence the study of theology next year. We had 40 priests ordained here this year(but none from our diocese). I got minor orders but had nearly (despaired?) of them as I owed something considerable to the Bursar and he must be cleared. otherwise no orders. However I stated the case to him saying that my Treasurer lived in a very remote country between which and this there was no direct communication and money consequently could not be sent at all times but that I might pledge my work to be able to satisfy him in short time. I am beginning to entertain serious doubts not that my honour will be seriously injured as the time I appointed is fast approaching. James Maguire who is married on our cousin has the farm I said before I got 14 pounds for it but many debts both there and here soon decided the fate of this money.

I must now give you some news my parish priest Father Davitt, the best of friends to me is dead. John Bradley Lockey's son is also dead. Samuel Knon has purchased that farm which David Devine once held and Dr. McCurdy has gone to New South Wales after robbing the one half of the country. Oliver of (C le) has his farm in Urney. I should have said that Reverend Paul has succeded to our Parish. He is a stranger to me, but I just mention things as they occur to my mind & not observing any order. Aunt Rose and Margaret are still in Strabane. James& (wife?) are following an itinerant circus( ) ing to our Butty, they having many( ) and consequently ( ) harness employed James. I think he is now in Dublin. Robert and MaryJane are I believe in Glasgow( ) ( ) of the (Gnow) requested me to inquire of you if ( ) ( ) you heard of his brother James about Orleans. ( ) Me in your (mind) and also if possible his address for at amusement last Saturday in Boyles Boat( ) Up the (firn) by steam the first time. Many of ( ) about Lifford& Chatham were in her and took (oc ) In the rector( snow) our O Cormall is straing in ( ) rapid the weekly amount received now on an average is ( ) pounds. At present Ireland has 2 millions of ( ) I hear is gone to America. Uncle and Aunt live near our place( ) I hope you will write upon the receipt of this I cannot recollect more news ans such of your friends as I have not mentioned are well. Remember me to all my friends in that city.

Your affectionate brother,
Tobias Mullen

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